Man goes on “spree” slashing car tyres in Norwich, court told

A man who went on a 'spree of wanton violence' slashing car tyres around Norwich, must pay the 18 individuals whose vehicles he damaged �40 each in compensation, totalling �720.

Paul Hassell, 42, of Tottington Close, Bowthorpe, targeted various streets around The Avenues in Norwich and left each vehicle with at least one deflated tyre.

But he was finally caught when blood found on some of the tyres matched his DNA, Norwich Magistrates' Court heard yesterday.

Hassell appeared for sentencing after previously admitting three counts of criminal damage to car tyres and asking 15 other offences to be taken into consideration.

Chairman of the bench Elizabeth Scott ordered him to pay some compensation to the victims, despite his being on benefits.

Prosecutor Mark Davis had asked for compensation to the victims of �1,396.50.

He said Hassell went on a 'spree of wanton violence' down various roads on November 20 last year.

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He said: 'These roads included Colman Road and The Avenues. All the vehicles had at least one deflated tyre after he plunged a sharp instrument into them. DNA from blood found on the tyres matched Hassell's. He admitted those offences in interview.'

For Hassell, Ian Fisher said the criminal damage to car tyres was random, but he admitted it was inexcusable.

He said that Hassell had offered a motive for the offences in a pre-sentence report, but that report was not read out in open court, and Mr Fisher said Hassell's motivation would not in any case cut any ice with the magistrates.

Mr Fisher said: 'These offences predate his appearance at this court last December, when he was sentenced to a term of imprisonment.

'Since February 5 when he was released on bail he has complied with the conditions of bail and not offended again.

'There are indicators of shame and he has had a change in medication. He now feels more at peace with himself and he's more focused.'

Hassell also pleaded guilty to stealing Lego worth �61.99 from Langley's in Norwich on February 3.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to stealing a rug worth �120 from Java at the Mall in Norwich on January 21, possessing a kitchen knife in London Street, Norwich on February 3, stealing a Royal Institute for the Blind charity box from Corner Stores in Colman Road, Norwich on January 29, and theft of jeans and jumpers from Slater's outfitters in Norwich on January 31.

Hassell was jailed for 20 weeks concurrent which was suspended for two years. He was also given a 12-month supervision order and must undertake a medium alcohol specific activity. No order for costs was made.